On May 18, 2015 the World Trade Organization (WTO) ruled against the United States’ COOL policy for the fourth time. This decision reaffirms Canada’s long-standing position that the COOL measures are protectionist and discriminatory.
In light of the WTO’s most recent decision, Canada & Mexico are asking the WTO for a special Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) meeting to request retaliation rights against the United States. The special DSB meeting is to take place on June 17, 2015.
Possible Government of Canada Trade Retaliation
Canada continues to call on the United States to repeal COOL legislation for beef and pork and comply with its international obligations. If a compensation agreement cannot be reached, Canada is prepared to react by levying a 100% surtax on imports of selected products from the United States if authorized by the WTO. Some of the products that may be targeted are fresh meats; certain fruits and vegetables; prepared meals; various syrups; chocolate; pasta; cereals; breads and pastries; orange juice; ketchup and sauces; wines and spirits; chemicals; jewelry; metal products; and furniture to name a few.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agriculture Marketing Service (USDA/AMS) implemented a final rule effective May 23, 2013, to modify the labelling provisions for muscle cut meats covered under the Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) program.
This measure has forced the livestock industry in Canada and other countries that trade with the U.S. to go through a lengthy labelling and tracking system with an unnecessary paperwork burden and additional red tape.
The Government of Canada’s news release can be found on Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada’s website.